Issues

Bill Clinton Has Obama’s Back on Executive Action: He’s On ‘Pretty Firm Legal Ground’

‘Twas the night before Executive Action and all through the House, Republicans were screeching….

But former President Bill Clinton took up for President Obama, saying he is on “pretty firm legal ground” to take executive action on immigration reform, seeing as every president in the modern era has issued some kind of executive action on the issue.

“As far as I can tell every president in the modern era has issued some executive action on immigration, so I imagine he’ll be on pretty firm legal ground,” Clinton said at a gala Wednesday evening to celebrate the 100th anniversary of The New Republic magazine, according to Rachel Huggins, reporting for The Hill.

Thus Clinton backed up Presidents Reagan, Bush I and II, and Eisenhower who all took executive action on immigration reform. In fact, every president since Eisenhower has done it.

President Obama will be speaking Thursday night at 8PM to announce the executive action he will be taking since Republicans have had 511 days to act and have done nothing. If Obama does what is anticipated, up to 5 million relatives of US citizens and permanent residents could be impacted.

It’s bizarre to hear Republicans screeching to the high heavens about Obama being a “lawless emperor” if he does what all other modern presidents have done, especially since Congress does not supply enough money to deport every undocumented worker. Yes, it’s true Dorothy, there is already a selective deportation policy, which the Obama administration says prioritizes terrorist suspects and criminals.

Republicans argue that not deporting is the same as amnesty, but even the conservative Supreme Court disagreed with this two years ago in an Arizona Papers Please case. They ruled that the President has broad discretion over the implementation of deportation policies. This is not the same thing as granting citizenship to folks, which only Congress can do.

If Republicans really don’t like what Obama does tonight, they could do something about it. But that something involves doing their jobs as legislators, and that’s not something they do very often. If House Republicans can get it together to stand up to their base and actually pass what the Senate sent them 511 days ago, Republicans would effectively stop Obama.

Republicans say they have a plan to do something on immigration, but they only came up with it to make Obama look bad. This is what reactionaries do. If they wanted to do something that would pass, they would vote on the bipartisan Senate bill gathering dust in their chamber. Instead, if they manage to do anything at all, they will craft something no sane legislator would vote for and then blame Obama for its failure.

So Republicans will continue to screech about Obama, trying to game the ref with personal insults because they don’t have facts and reality on their side. Republicans can’t even claim to have a legitimate gripe about executive office power, because their party expands that power egregiously every time they are in the White House.

Bill Clinton has Obama’s back on immigration, and that has to burn because the country really likes the former President.

Sarah Jones

Listen to Sarah on the PoliticusUSA Pod on The Daily newsletter podcast here. Sarah has been credentialed to cover President Barack Obama, then VP Joe Biden, 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and exclusively interviewed Speaker Nancy Pelosi multiple times and exclusively covered her first home appearance after the first impeachment of then President Donald Trump. Sarah is two-time Telly award winning video producer and a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. Connect with Sarah on Post,  Mastodon @PoliticusSarah@Journa.Host, & Twitter.

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